Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic lays out Markieff Morris with cheap shot
DENVER — Nikola Jokic had 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists before the NBA MVP was ejected for violently slamming his shoulder into Markieff Morris, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 113-96 on Monday night.
Will Barton scored 25 and Jeff Green added 13 points. Jeff Green started in place Michael Porter Jr.’s injury. The Nuggets held the opposition to less than 100 points for the seventh consecutive season.
Jimmy Butler scored 31 points to lead Heat. Duncan Robinson scored 13.
Morris elbowed Jokic at the midsection at half court with 2:39 left. Jokic responded with a hard push from behind with his shoulder/upper arm that knocked Morris to floor. Jokic was pushed away by Morris’ teammates as Morris rolled in pain. Morris was able get up on his own and walk off the ground after being assisted by medical personnel.
The Heat tweeted that Morris was suffering from a neck injury and was moving around in the locker-room.
Morris was ejected for a flagrant offense and Jokic was also ejected. Butler was also ejected for a technical violation.
The Nuggets led by 15 at halftime. They scored 11 of the first 16 points of the third quarter. Green’s driving layup, aided by Jokic, pushed their lead to 75-54. Denver held a lead of 91 to 70 into the fourth quarter.
Miami pulled to within just over four minutes of Butler’s 3s. Butler then hit consecutive 3s around Jokic’s basket. Barton scored successive 3s to seal the win.
The Nuggets took a 64-49 lead at the halftime. This was fueled by Jokic and Barton as well as Morris, who all scored in double figures by the end of the intermission.